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NEWS - 11. June 2019 11:25

Over 300 million euros worth of SEB second and third pillar pension fund investments meet the highest standards of responsibility

SEB Elu- ja Pensionikindlustus in Estonia aims to direct more investments in ethical, green, and sustainable investments. SEB seeks to adhere to the principles of responsible investing, to support sustainable businesses around the world and in the Baltic states, and to avoid initiatives that are harmful to the environment or social well-being.

Through SEB’s second and third pillar pension funds, Estonians are investing 380 million euros in businesses that adhere to the primary principles of responsible investing and 320 million euros in businesses that meet SEB’s highest standards of responsibility. SEB aims to increase the proportion of responsible investments to 25 per cent in all of their pension fund portfolios.

Triin Messimas, member of the management board of SEB Elu- ja Pensionikindlustus: ‘The world is moving more and more towards supporting ethical businesses – businesses whose activities do not pollute the environment or cause climate warming, who respect labour and human rights, and are not involved in bribery and corruption. This year’s SEB Retirement Readiness survey also showed that Estonian residents consider the welfare of their offspring important and as many as 58 per cent of Estonians want their pension funds to be invested in responsible businesses. For that reason, one of our ambitions is to give people who save for pension the piece of mind that their return on investments will not come at the expense of future generations. In our investment policy, we will be stricter in monitoring the profiles of foundations and businesses and avoiding investments that are harmful to the environment and/or the society and we will mainly support initiatives that meet the standards of sustainable development.’

In order to avoid unethical and environmentally damaging investments, the SEB Group has created a so-called ‘blacklist’, which has led SEB to withdraw from a number of investments. The selection of investment funds is based on the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). Responsible investing does not mean a compromise in fund performance: it diversifies investment opportunities and provides current and future pension savers with certainty that returns on investment will not come at the expense of non-renewable resources or cause societal challenges.

Responsible investing is based on three general principles:

  • exclusion of companies that are inappropriate, pollute the environment, or undermine the welfare of society
  • preference for sustainable and green businesses
  • promotion of sustainable change in companies through shareholder voting and managements.

Lietuvos Energija’s green bonds, the SEB Sustainable High Yield Fund, the SEB Ethical Global Index Fund, and the portfolio of the SEB Progressive Pension Fund, which are managed in accordance with the highest sustainability criteria, are some of the examples of SEB’s already existing responsible funds and investments. In addition to excluding blacklisted securities, the aforementioned portfolio also excludes polluting industries in general, giving more weight to companies that stand out in a positive way.

Additional information on SEB Group’s policy on responsible investing is available on the website of SEB.

For a more in-depth analysis on sustainable investment, see tomorrow’s commentary in Investment Minutes.

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